Battling through a demanding stage one at the 2018 Morocco Rally, Andrew Short claimed an 11th place result with Pablo Quintanilla closely following in 12th. With the race entering the dunes of the Merzouga Desert on Saturday, the two Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders will make use of their advantageous starting positions as they look to gain back some of the time lost during Friday’s gruelling stage.
Andrew Short was the highest placed Husqvarna rider on the first rally stage of the Morocco Rally. Suffering a mistake in the first timed special, the American lost some time which he then tried to gain back on the second and last special for the day. Opting not to take any unnecessary risks in the most demanding parts of the timed special, Andrew put in the 11th best time for the day.
For defending Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla, stage one of the Morocco Rally proved to be a challenging one. Suffering small navigational mistakes, the Chilean rally star posted the 12th fastest time for the day. With four more long stages to go, Pablo is already looking ahead to the remainder of the race.
Kicking off early on Saturday morning, the second stage of the race will be contested in the dunes of the Merzouga Desert. Including a 317km loop around Erfoud, stage two of the Morocco Rally features a 281km timed special.
Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a challenging stage for me. I made some mistakes and ended up losing time. The stage was tricky, there were a few parts that were difficult to find the right routes. There was probably too much rain the last few days and this has affected the tracks. I think it will be more or less the same for the remainder of the race, so we should do our best to adapt to these conditions. I will continue doing my best. It’s crucial to remain focused and reduce mistakes. The race still has a long way to go and I want to take advantage of every opportunity I get to make up for the time lost today.”
Andrew Short: “We’re all treated with challenging conditions at this rally. The last two days haven’t been good for me but I will continue fighting for the best result. Today I got lost in the first timed special and when I got back on the right tracks I found myself racing alongside a big group of riders. The second special was a little bit better for me. There were some parts with big rocks and I decided to keep it safe and not take any big chances. The next couple of days we will be racing in the sand dunes and hopefully this change of terrain will be good for me. I really look forward to racing in the sand.”
2018 Morocco Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Toby Price (KTM) 02:13:18
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 02:16:06
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 02:19:31
4. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 02:22:05
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 02:26:37
6. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 02:27:03
11. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 02:34:53
12. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 02:35:00
2018 Morocco Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]
1. Toby Price (KTM) 02:22:05
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 02:25:03
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 02:28:31
4. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 02:31:13
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 02:35:39
6. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 02:36:18
11. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 02:44:11
12. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 02:44:25